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Much as the Buena Vista Social Club revealed a rich and unexplored world of music and culture, Cool & Crazy does the same, focusing on a group of men who find purpose, companionship and even fame as members of the Berlevag Male Choir in Norway. From singing above precipitous cliffs during a raging snowstorm, to the backstage maneuverings of their Russian tour, Cool & Crazy revels in the spirit of these rugged men as they bare their souls through songs of faith and hope. The choir is composed of the unlikeliest of movie stars--a group of 30 fishermen, the youngest at age 30, the oldest in his 90s--from a little village n the northernmost coast of Europe on the banks of the Barent sea, which has a practically uninterrupted view of the North Pole. One of Norway's most experienced directors, Knut Erik Jensen, captures this otherworldly environment in a majestic and profound manner. He captures the lives of a group of stout-hearted men, facing the unforgiving onslaught of Arctic waves to earn their living, dressed for their "engagements" in navy suit jackets, black bow ties and white sailors caps. For some, this will be a film about men, for others it will be about love, or politics, or fish. Above all it is about the beauty and dignity of ordinary lives lived under extreme circumstances.
The Berlevag Male Choir are a group of men who sing songs of spirituality in and around their home country of Norway. This documentary introduces audiences to this unique singing group. It also follows the singers as they prepare for a Russian tour. This portrait of the choir highlights both the talent on display as well as the deep bond the performers have engaged in over the years.
Sight and Sound
"...Jensen's delight in his subjects is palpable, and he evidently put them at their ease..." 02/01/2002 p.42-3
...In the film's final third, the chorus takes a bus through a neighboring region of Russia to a concert in Murmansk. As they pass through the miles of ruined landscapes and industrial detritus left by the failure of Communism, the men bemoan the damage inflicted on nature by the human race, speaking as if they were emissaries from an idyllic past that will never return. Cool & Crazy is consistently offbeat and entertaining; at such moments, it is also quite moving.
First Run Feature
New York Post
The Guardian (London)
Passionate, hilarious and sometimes majestic!
Funny, moving and totally charming...a beautiful and extraordinary film.